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Plan Works With UNICEF to Increase Birth Registration in Sudan

It is important that children from the Zamzam Internally Displaced People camp in Sudan are counted.
It is important that children from the Zamzam Internally Displaced People camp in Sudan are counted.
May 27, 2014
Birth registration can help protect the many displaced refugees in Sudan.

Amid ongoing conflict in Sudan resulting in millions without a set home, Plan is working to ensure everyone is counted.

As part of the Count Every Child birth registration initiative, Plan Sudan has partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to strengthen national child protection systems and to reduce obstacles to birth registration.

The project is part of a greater initiative undertaken by Plan since 2005. Overall, Plan has helped register 40 million children around the world and influenced laws in 10 countries so that 153 million can enjoy the rights that come with a birth certificate. In Sudan, key actions include legal and policy reform; civil registry strategic planning; capacity building and awareness raising; the integration of birth registration into other services, such as health and education; community-based registration; and social mobilization campaigns.

The challenge is vast.

There are an estimated 2.3 million internally displaced people, 140,000 refugees, 7,000 asylum seekers, and hundreds of thousands more people at risk of statelessness. Refugees from neighboring states and internally displaced people in eastern Sudan face acute poverty and lack of access to health care, education, and employment. And, persistent drought has degraded the land and shrunk pasture lands, leading to malnutrition among refugees and host communities.

Plan is also hoping to target the marginalized. Internally displaced persons, rural communities, and nomadic groups in high-conflict areas, such as the Darfur State, were identified as key target groups. Due to security issues and the difficulty of access, these groups have low levels of birth registration.

A specific birth registration program was developed in conjunction with UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Health care and vaccination campaigns were then implemented in the same region.

The combined strategies of community awareness sessions, use of local media to spread information, training of midwives and local authorities in birth registration techniques, and establishment of mobile registration units have proved effective in increasing the number of children who are registered.

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